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Bill Belichick Opens Up About Draft Trade That Let Steelers Jump Jets for Broderick Jones

Bill Belichick opened up about the trade at the 2023 NFL Draft that let the Pittsburgh Steelers jump the New York Jets for Broderick Jones.

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Steelers Patriots Bill Belichick
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 7, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that he understood what he was doing to the New York Jets when he traded back with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Jets were looking for a tackle and had Georgia’s Broderick Jones falling down the board toward them at pick No. 15. The Steelers also wanted Jones and worked out a deal with the Patriots to move up from No. 17 to No. 14 to get ahead of the Jets and make sure they were able to get him.

The Patriots wanted to draft a cornerback, and with both Christian Gonzalez of Oregon and Emmanuel Forbes of Mississippi State on the board, they had the ability to be patient and make a move down. 

Belichick said they knew the Steelers weren’t coming up for a cornerback, and they didn’t think the Jets would go that direction, even if the Steelers nabbed Jones at No. 14.

“We only traded back a couple of spots,” Belichick said in an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday. “We were pretty confident that the Steelers were looking for a tackle and we were pretty confident that the Jets weren’t going to take a corner because they had taken [Sauce] Gardner the year before. So, we kinda thought that both teams were looking for the same thing. In the end, the Jets ended up taking a pass rusher. We were really interested in the corner. We would’ve stayed there and taken Gonzalez if a trade hadn’t been available. We had the option to move back a couple of spots.”

The Steelers paid just a fourth-round pick to move up and get Jones, significantly less than the usual cost to trade up in that range. Did the Patriots give the Steelers a break just so they could help keep a top candidate from falling to the Jets? Belichick didn’t confirm that, but he certainly was just fine with the way things played out.

“Of course, we didn’t know that the Steelers were going to take the guy the Jets wanted, but I wouldn’t say we weren’t heartbroken that happened,” Belichick said. “That’s the way it goes.”

The Jets ended up drafting Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV instead, and the Pats landed Gonzalez at No. 17. New York drafted Pitt’s Carter Warren in the fourth round and made two big moves this offseason, adding Tyron Smith from the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent and trading for Baltimore Ravens tackle Morgan Moses.

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